Google has this tool called Insights for Search. At first glance, it looks like a pretty simple, fairly unsophisticated tool that just tells you if search volume is going up or down for a particular keyword or group of keywords. Not many insights there, right? I mean, all you really have to do for search engine marketing is keyword research with one of the many tools available to you out there and you can easily line up the keywords that you want to go after by search intent and volume, right?
But, here's the problem with your keyword research. It's static. You get a number and you compare it to other numbers at a single point in time. That's great for that day, that month, or even that year. But as you know, your industry changes. There's new advances, new challenges, new demands, etc.; and part of winning is staying ahead of your competition.
Well, how are you going to do that if you're not understanding the ecosystem of your industry online RIGHT NOW and what's forecasted for the future? Those keywords you optimized for last year might still be great, but what's old news?, what's new?, where is there opportunity to get ahead of the competition? Can you create content about a pressing question that searchers have that will help drive brand awareness? The only way to see that is by looking at keyword search interest in trends and not static numbers. It's DYNAMIC keyword research. The trends give another dimension to the numbers that help tell a different story of what's going on.
Are there popular keyword searches for our industry RIGHT NOW that aren't currently on our keyword list? If they are on our keyword list, are we currently ranking for them? How does their search interest compare to phrases that we have targeted in the past and/or we do rank for? Has this changed since we last did keyword research? Why has it changed? Has it changed worldwide or just in specific countries? If search interest has gone up, have the visits to our website kept pace? Why or why not?
Not only can you look at trend volumes, but you can look at them by geography as well. How does this lead to insights? For example, you may look at your #1 targeted keyword and find that it's very popular in the United States, but Canada is a close 2nd. But, when you compare your brand name to your top 5 competitors in Canada, you're nowhere to be found and your analytics data confirms it because you're getting very little brand keyword visits to your site from Canada. So, your product or service is very popular, but you aren't. Why? How have you failed and how can you fix it?
If you're Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft; you may notice how video games exploded in popularity around 2009 in India...
but wonder why your brand did not...
Now, I have no idea if there's any legs to it, there may be a great reason why. But, if there isn't a great reason, then this would be good to know right? Absolutely.
So, it's simple tool but also a digging tool. The more questions you ask of the data, questions your competitors aren't asking; the more insights will pop out at you with market intelligence that can put you a step ahead. You will know why the word "insights" is in the name (although I think a better name might have been "Insights from Search" because these insights aren't just FOR search, they're for every marketing channel).
Good marketing is a continuous endeavor of adjusting to the ebbs and flows of your industry's ecosystem and looking for areas where you can get out in front of the competition by giving your prospects what they are telling you they're looking for. Get to know how to use this tool really well and you can do just that. Stay tuned for more on this...
Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.
Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
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